Notre Dame tops North Dakota 2-1 in OT
Thomas Zwiller | Friday, March 25, 2022
In Thursday’s column by the hockey beat writers, writers agreed that “the battle of the NDs,” would be a low-scoring defensive battle in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. Notre Dame (28-11-0) and North Dakota (24-14-1) did not disappoint.
In the first five minutes, the game was a very back and forth physical game. North Dakota was the superior team early on. The Hawks seemed better able to carry or dump the puck into the Ieiah zone and possess it while there.
At the same time, Notre Dame was able to get the puck in the North Dakota zone, but the Hawks were able to clear the puck with a little more ease.
Afterwards, Notre Dame seemed to settle down and generated some better scoring chances. However, North Dakota seemed better equipped to repel the Irish attacks and generated strong chances as well.
Late in the first period (1:17), Griffin Ness won a battle on the boards against Notre Dame and was able to chip the puck out to Jackson Kunz. Kunz looked up and found Brent Johnson, who was sitting in wait at the point.
Alone at the point, Johnson took both ice and his time, waiting for the slot to crowd. As Jesse Lansdell approached Johnson, Johnson shot the puck that bounced in off the far post.
It was a well-executed play from the Fighting Hawks. Once Kunz chipped the puck to Johnson, Kunz and Ness instantly moved towards the net, dragging their defenders with them. With four players breaking up Irish netminder Matthew Galajda’s vision, the puck needed only to find its mark.
The period ended with Notre Dame ahead on shots 5-4, but with North Dakota ahead on the scoreboard.
Notre Dame was much more aggressive early in the second period. Considering that Notre Dame was down 1-0 in a low-scoring game, it made sense for the defensive-minded Irish to try and get a quick goal.
Not only did the Irish come out more aggressively, but they were also able to get a much-needed equalizer early on.
Early in the second (18:57), Graham Slaggert generated a turnover with his foot. The redirected puck found Landon Slaggert on the blue line.
Landon was able to drive the puck up the left side of the North Dakota zone and get behind the defense. Once behind the defense, he crossed the crease and snuck the puck past goalie Zach Driscoll. The goal tied the game at one apiece, where it would remain tied until the end of regulation.
Later in the second, Landon Slaggert would get on the scoresheet, albeit for a very different reason. At 9:17, Slaggert would be called for a boarding call, hitting a North Dakota player in front of the Hawks bench. The penalty would allow the Hawks to possess the puck and generate some scoring chances, but ultimately one of the best penalty-killing units in the NCAA was able to do what it does best.
The rest of the period continued to be a back and forth physical game until 18:21 when North Dakota’s Chris Jandric committed a holding penalty. The penalty lasted through the conclusion of the second, but Notre Dame was ultimately unable to put the puck in the net.
Notre Dame held the shot advantage 14-12 at the conclusion of the second period.
Once the power play ended, the Irish continued to play dominant defense, denying the Hawks a shot on goal well into the third.
At 7:27, the referees sent the Hawks to the penalty box again. The call was on at Matteo Costantini for hooking. Once again, however, Notre Dame had chances but could not convert.
The Hawks were not the only team to commit a penalty in the third. A Nick Leivermann hooking penalty at 10:30 would give North Dakota a penalty shot.
Thankfully for Notre Dame, Galajda stood tall, denying Riese Gaber a good place for a shot. Gaber would miss wide, and the game would remain tied 1-1.
The last penalty of the period was an Irish penalty (18:26). Jack Adams took a trip to the box for a hooking penalty. The penalty would keep the Irish short for the rest of regulation and early into the OT period.
In the final seconds of regulation, the Slaggerts were able to drive the puck into the Hawks zone. Despite Graham Slaggert appearing to put the puck into the net with about 0.4 seconds left, the officials ruled that it was a little slow to make it into the net after a lengthy review.
The green light behind each net appeared to go off well after the puck entered the net. The light goes on each time the clock is stopped during the game and when the period ends. However, the clock expired slightly before the horn and light were triggered.
That meant one thing and one thing only: free hockey!
The Adams penalty had less than 30 seconds left as OT started, so Notre Dame started on the kill.
However, as the Irish generated a turnover that could have turned into a free man rush, Jandric committed an interference penalty, ending the North Dakota power play and setting up the Irish to control the OT period. The penalty was not particularly malicious but more of a calculated choice. Instead of a potential breakaway that ends the game, Jandric elected to take a penalty and trust in a high-quality North Dakota defense.
Notre Dame took advantage of the opportunity, with Graham Slaggert (assisted by Nick Leivermann and Landon Slaggert) giving the Irish the game-winning power play goal and first NCAA tournament win since 2019. The Irish will advance to face top-seeded Minnesota State in the quarterfinals Saturday.